The Importance of Stretching and Mobility Work October 16, 2015 23:10
One of the most overlooked parts of an effective training regime is regular stretching. This is something I have been particularly guilty of myself in the past, and have recently started feeling the consequences of neglecting this crucial aspect of fitness. Not many people will admit they enjoy stretching, as the majority of the time it is rather unpleasant and sometimes downright painful! However, it is a necessary evil that must be faced head on in order to prolong your lifting or athletic career.
As is the case with the majority of people, the consequences are not felt for many months. Imagine training regularly, getting stronger, leaner and becoming the best version of yourself. Everything is going well, so what is the need to stretch you may ask? With every repetition you perform your muscles will be getting gradually tighter, day after day, week after week, month after month. Stretching would counteract this by giving the muscles the chance to release however since this has been neglected for so long, you will start feeling aches and pains that you attribute to being part and parcel of pushing yourself to new limits. These aches and pains could have been avoided by stretching for 10 minutes every other day. Before long the aches will turn into chronic pains that prevent you performing certain exercises and have a significant negative impact on your training. A prime example of this would be failing to properly stretch your hamstrings. Over time as the hamstrings get stronger and tighter they start to pull the pelvis downwards, resulting in a posterior pelvic tilt which changes the curvature of the spine. Clearly this cannot be good and will inevitably lead to pack pain if steps aren’t taken to correct the issue.
For serious athletes, stretching can help them remain injury free. Obviously not all injuries can be avoided as some are simply freak accidents that can never be foreseen, however, incorporating regular mobility work into your routine will go a long way towards minimising the risk to as low a level as possible.
Here is a simple mobility drill from popular YouTuber and bodybuilder Matt Ogus that I highly recommend you incorporate into your routine!